Please Leave Your Name and Number

I hate talking on the phone. Always have. Which made my mom’s life much easier while I was a teenager — back in the days of a single phone line per household and no cell phones. Of course, if you talk to her, she probably only remembers that one friend who managed to keep me on the phone all night.


Problem is, now I have a job that requires answering the phone. I don’t work in a salon that has a receptionist to do this for me, and that means it’s up to me.


I have lots of colleagues out there who have somehow managed to convince their clients that they don’t answer the phone while they are with a client, and that’s a good thing. Somehow they have made their clients understand that when they call their favorite nail technician for an appointment and get the voicemail, this is professional and upscale — downright highfalutin even.


Could someone please talk to my clients about this? Mostly all I hear is, “Maggie, you never answer your phone.” I have at least one client who not only refuses to leave me a message, but hangs up and immediately calls the salon phone. Which drives me about nuts because I don’t use the phone at the salon at all, and I feel miserable asking my very busy coworkers to play receptionist for me by taking a message.


Of course, they’re right. I almost never answer my phone. If I’m in the middle of a service, I let it go to voicemail. If I’m not at work, I let it go to voicemail. Hey! If it was a traditional landline at my place of business, I wouldn’t be able to answer it on my days off. So why should I go running for the cell phone when it rings at 6 p.m. on a Sunday evening?!


Now, calling people back? Maybe I could work on that. Maybe I need to upgrade to one of those fancy new phones that tells me what my voicemails say without my having to call in to listen to them. Not to mention one that has WiFi so I can blog from my phone when I’m stuck at Stanford, huh? After all, it’s totally tax-deductable, right?


Which brings me around to texting. I text like someone’s mom — which is to say, all slow. (Yeah, I realize there are a lot of moms who can text like the wind. It’s a figure of speech.) Seriously, if you could hear me text, I’d be stuttering. And, probably due to my loathing of being on the phone, I don’t use minutes fast enough to warrant a monthly contract. No kidding! I have a pay-as-you-go phone from T-Mobile, which means I pay for every outgoing and incoming text message. Nevertheless, as it turns out, I really prefer texting — and I even tend to answer text messages faster than old-fashioned voicemail. I think it’s because I can answer one at a time, discreetly, while my client washes her hands or picks out a polish. I don’t have to call into the voicemail and sit and listen to each message and write them down. And if I get distracted in the middle of texting, I can save it as a draft and come back to it later.


It’s really much more convenient.


On the other hand, what is with these people who leave me voicemails and say things like, “Hey, I just wanted to get an appointment, give me a call back.”?


Who ARE you? Do these people really think that I am going to A) find out what time and day each call came in, and B) scroll through my “received calls” list and pinpoint which phone number matches up with that time and then just take it upon myself to call that number and hope that that actually is the person who called? Not to mention, what am I supposed to say? “Hi! This is Maggie. Someone from this number called me at 8:43 a.m. on Saturday and I think they left me a message that they wanted an appointment to have their nails done.”


No. I’m not going to do that. So if you want me to call you back, even if it takes me three days, you need to leave me a name and a number, or I’m not taking the blame.

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